The state of California will end its pandemic tier system and remove most restrictions on businesses on June 15, Governor Gavin Newsom announced today.
More than 20 million vaccine doses have been administered to the state's nearly 40 million residents, the governor said. (About eight million Californians are under age 16 and therefore unable to be vaccinated yet, so we talking about 32 million vaccine-eligible residents.) More than four million doses have been administered in what the state defines as vulnerable communities, as well, shifting the requirements for counties to enter the state;'s Orange and Yellow tiers.
That should allow San Diego County to enter the Orange tier, in which theme park capacity can rise to 25% and parks can allow indoor dining, but that move has not yet been confirmed by the state.
The tier status change also puts makes it easier for Los Angeles and Orange counties to enter the least-restricted Yellow tier, where theme parks can operate at 35% capacity. Both counties would need to see their adjusted Covid case rate per 1,000 residents drop below 2 for that to happen, and the earliest that the counties could move would be April 20. LA is now at 3.1 and OC is at 2.8.
But those capacity limits will go away on June 15 under the governor's plan. However, the state's mandatory mask order would remain in place. And the removal of the tier system is contingent upon vaccinations remaining available to all people ages 16 and older and Covid case rates continuing to fall in the state.
California currently ranks 49 out of the 50 states for new Covid cases per 100,000 residents. (For comparison for theme park fans, Florida's case rate is more than four times California's, and it is rising.)
I am looking for information whether the end of the tier system would mean that California's theme parks would be open to out of state residents again. That requirement was part of the state's travel restrictions in addition to the tier system.
It's also still up in the air whether parks will drop their advance reservation systems on June 15. Advance reservations have given parks greater control over crowd management, so it's possible that some parks will choose to hold on to that tool even as the state loosens capacity restrictions.
But the end of the tier system will allow parks to resume full operations inside the gates - including parades, nighttime spectaculars, theater shows, interactive attractions, playgrounds, and loading to full capacity on rides. (Welcome back, single rider lines!) Of course, "allow" and actually doing are two different things, as parks may adjust their operations at their own discretion after June 15.
Again, all this is assuming that the governor's plan holds. So if you want to want the full theme park experience this summer, get vaccinated ASAP.
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